SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile on Thursday faced questioning by a United Nations water rights professional who recommended the government could be putting financial development over human rights through questionable farming and energy jobs.
Leo Heller, the UN special rapporteur on human rights to drinking water and sanitation, stated he had actually asked the federal government to “clarify” its technique to the extensive growing of avocados in the main coastal area of Valparaiso, along with the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project which lies southeast of the capital, Santiago.
” The Chilean Federal government would not be satisfying its international human rights commitments if it prioritises economic advancement jobs over the human rights to water and health,” he said in a declaration.
” These 2 projects may put that supply at risk, which is especially stressing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Chile has been in the grip of among the worst droughts in 60 years and in 2015 declared a water emergency situation in Petorca, the center of its world-leading avocado trade.
One avocado tree utilizes more water daily than the 50- litre daily quota reserve for each citizen, Heller stated, yet the government continues to give new water rights to agricultural business.
The existing quota for citizens did not represent the regular hand washing needed to eliminate coronavirus, he included.
The Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Job in the Andes mountains that tower above the nation’s capital produces electrical energy by diverting the three main tributaries of the Maipo River through some 67 km of tunnels.
Heller said the task might have a negative effect on the primary source of drinking water for Santiago locals, but likewise worsen the city’s contamination problem by damaging the Maipo River Basin “green corridor.”
Matias Asun, Greenpeace director in Chile, stated the “extreme declaration” was unmatched. “This should be responded to by the government,” he stated.
The Chilean government did not immediately react to a demand for remark.
Reporting by Aislinn Laing; modifying by Richard Pullin